Zone Doubt, a.k.a. 'Surreal Я Us'...
Joules, trusted by... dozens... to make a drama out of your crisis...
:: JAT :: WaveWrights :: Publications :: Joules... on writing [on hiatus] ::
I live to write. It's not wise to get in my way.
August 2011: the earlier posts in this blog are a mess, the result of me changing the format some time ago. I'm working to edit the entire blog from the beginning, but with over 4K posts and sodall time for such luxuries it's going to take a while... [02/09/16 - Now reached 09/10/2004]
If you come across any words you don't recognise in this blog, take a look at the Taylorspeke Glossary in the left-hand infopane, you'll usually find a definition there.
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Not perfect - it was a little dull and windy outside today: Ken will try to get some indoors over the weekend - but it does show some of the detail. They are exquisite, and they do smell faintly of vanilla...
Buggered my left shoulder somehow, with shooting pains down my arm and up my neck behind my ear, so haven't managed to do very much today (not to mention it's extremely distracting, defeating 'prufen and parrots combined). Though that being said, I have done a little more to Heart (more on that subject, hopefully, in the next week or so).
In the garden - I have some corn cobs now swelling! And several more marrows developing. The leeks are coming along quite well, and a brief furtle (yes, it's a real word!) in the potato growing bag revealed the presence of some fine spuds, so I'll need to investigate a little more thoroughly next week.
It seems, at the moment, I can run the computer for about six hours before it starts overheating, which is of course nowhere near long enough. Have left a message for Nick...
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Our grasshoppers are particularly large this year, and we also have some very colourful crickets (this is up on a drainpipe, so I couldn't get closer).
Still having problems with this machine. Took the side cover off and dusted (not that it was very mucky), but the heat and the dusty burning smell seems to be coming from the power unit (the one I had replaced just over a year ago). It doesn't appear to be actually overheating (not badly, at any rate) and the rest of the computer is cool and behaving itself. Going to give it another few days and then contact Nick at computer geeks, if necessary...
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
I haz a egret!!
They are very small....
Better photo when Ken can get some decent close-ups.
Pretty sky last night...
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Heh. This blog is eight years old today.
It's been a day of trying to tackle the delayed weeding/pruning jobs in the garden - Kai's currently cutting back all the greenery around his railway track. I've deadheaded around the apple tree and pared back the new blackberry growth, and removed the St John's Wort at the side of Roeg's Pool (when Ken's finished the wall we're going to set stones in concrete along that edge to stop the herb coming back and help keep the track stable). Still have to attack the rest of the ivy tree, which is a pretty major job, and clear the rest of the ivy from the small plot with the meadowsweet, but it's just a matter of nibbling at it...
Minor disaster in the greenhouse yesterday - two of the cheap and flimsy clips that attach to the frame and that are the only thing I can find locally snapped, letting the main branch of one of the Black Russian tomato plants collapse. I've rescued the eight double-fist-sized toms it held (they're now ripening on the kitchen window-shelf), and propped the plant up as best I can, but these are heavy. Have to see if I can find some of the heavy duty clips.
Second marrow of the year (we've already eaten the first). I think I'll stuff this one.
Fluffy little developing corn cobs! ->
That's Kai you can just see standing - upright, he's not crouching or bent over - behind the maize...
Monday, July 26, 2010
Kai and I went to see Inception.
I wasn't falling over myself keen - as I've said before, I'm not that fond of DiCaprio - but anything that explores dreams/dreamscapes/perceptions of alternate realities is always worth a look, especially given the truly bizarre dreams assailing me at the moment...
It's superb. Wholly extraordinary. It's two and a half hours long but the time simply flew. It's gloriously complex, layer on layer on layer, unfolding with perfect timing. I'd rate it half a star behind District 9. A definite must-have, and highly recommended (with no reservations this time). Wonderful wonderful film. And the end is just perfect...
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Computer behaving today...
Busy as usual. Kai's machine has now been backed up, cleaned up and defragged (this last took about five hours - never been done before!) Managed some housekeeping myself, wrote a couple of book synopses, tended garden and greenhouse, and hose-pipe watered this evening. Such a terribly exciting Sunday!
Still here, though I'm hardly daring to breathe: computer behaving itself more or less, although the power unit does now feel a bit warm.
It's been quite a successful evening. The data cable doesn't have the cd with the drivers on it that was supposed to be included, so I'll have to take it back and complain. However, with a little advisory help from Lutra I can now at least send emails from my phone, though apparently not receive them.
This is the photo of the black dalek I took with the phone's camera in Broadmead earlier today (yes, it's wearing a yellow hat. It was collecting for Marie Curie Cancer Research. Yes, it is surreal here at times...) I also managed to set the Manga Video Theme as my ringtone (uploaded the mp3 to a spare JAT page then downloaded it to the phone - dread to think how much that cost! And there's probably a much cheaper and easier way of doing it, but what the hell...)
The rest I'll pick up and sort out bit by bit.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
A very quick post while my computer is still working (I think the power unit fan has gone or something...)
Wonderful day with Wendy! Even managed to find a USB cable that fits my phone (although I haven't risked trying it yet, not until I sort out the problem with this machine). Many thanks - great to see you and chat.
Fingers crossed I can sort out the problem quickly.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Not easy to see, but there are two goldfinches at the sunflower seed feeder in the medlar. It's lovely to see them: we grow teasels just to try to persuade them to visit. With a little luck they'll come back when our plants flower and fruit.
I can also hear at least one wren out there - although the voice is higher and less powerful than our resident wren. I wonder if it's a youngster?
Much of yesterday was spent trying to get Kai's passport organised (yes, he needs one for Germany. I'd hoped the school would organise a group passport - Kim told me that's what her sprogs' school does - but no, the kids all need their own...) You'd think it would be relatively easy, but because of my change of name, we've had to send off not only the application and two photos (Dave-next-door signed one for us) and Kai's birth certificate (not the short one we got when he was registered, oh no: we had to fork out another £9 for the full one), but also our marriage certificate and my change of name document. And pay the post office £8 handling charge plus another £3 (optional, but safer, and we should get the passport in about two weeks) insurance for their guaranteed return. [growl] At least the actual passport was only £49 instead of the adult £80, as he's under 16... This trip had better be good!
In other news, Wendy's coming up for the day tomorrow - looking forward to that!
All coming along very nicely...
Thursday, July 22, 2010
[bemused] This is the sort of sign I expect to see here...
Labels: strangeness and charm
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Gah, tired already. My own fault for getting up at 6.30, to get over to Tesco shopping and back before Ken left. Still, it made for a productive morning - got the rest of the leeks planted in the veg bed, set a sling under the second marrow, even managed to get a wash load almost dry before the rain set in.
Although Tyjer isn't happy that I've made it rain...
Hayfever's playing up again - it's been very quiet for a few weeks. Wonder what's producing pollen at the... ah. The sweetcorn. That'd be a pain! Time for a piriteeze. And a couple of 'prufens: my right rotator cuff has gone now...
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Lettuces and a couple more mange tout seedlings transplanted into veg bed: toms, mange tout, dwarf beans, courgettes, Swiss chard, carrots and green pepper harvested for dinner! More marrows appearing; sweetcorn not quite as high as an elephant's eye, but coming on nicely all the same.
Swamp Thing reaching new depths of WTFery... And wow for the fab special effects! Wonderful for the 1970s. Only problem is the series was made in the 1990s...
Monday, July 19, 2010
Tedious but necessary, and taking advantage of the lovely weather - washed and drip-dried all the horribly grubby sofa seat covers...
[bemused] And we've been watching more Swamp Thing of an evening. This has resulted in two notable observations: 1, the episode In the Beginning is one of the daftest things we've ever watched (Kai and I MSTed it all the way through); and 2, the eps with Arcane are fun, but the ones without him are, in general, considerably better. Strange but true...
A bitty sort of day. A little garden and greenhouse tending, Rosa now repotted (no, didn't take any pics this time, wanted to get her back into her tank as quickly as possible), and the strawberry wine is now bottled...
... woooof! 'tis amazing stuff - very dry, with a kick like a liqueur, and a wonderful delicate strawberry taste as an afterburn. Very very pleased with it - but it's not quaffing wine. Will need to be saved for special occasions.
And a bit of silliness. Most people reading this will only know me with long hair, but it's only been that way for the last few years. Prior to that it's been all shapes, styles and lengths - and to prove it I've put together a page of photos of its various incarnations - find it here. Go and have a laugh! [g] I love change...
Saturday, July 17, 2010
White egrets. Definitely flower buds... ->
Back of my head. (Sorry, you can't see the front yet. Sun was in my eyes.) As you can see, the new haircut is considerably shorter than the old!
Busy day. Four machine loads of washing through before Kai and I headed out into town - mainly to buy him a new watch, only we couldn't find what he wanted, as the shop has closed down... Still, got everything I needed at Wild Oats and a large bar of Porridge soap from Lush (along with some Karma dusting powder, which, they tell me, is being discontinued. Bloody typical).
And watched another three eps of Swamp Thing after dinner - Hide in the Night, Pay Day, and Return of LaRoche. Great fun!
Friday, July 16, 2010
To my delight the sweetcorn survived last night's wild weather with minimal damage (only one has been knocked slightly askew): indeed, the female flowers (which produce the actual corn) have begun to appear! This is excellent. As is everything in the greenhouse: the second cucumber is almost ready for picking, and tonight I prepared and froze the first batch of tomatoes. The first marrow is now supported in a sling to keep it off the soil (to prevent it rotting/insects getting at it) and the second one is beginning to develop. And the mange tout and dwarf beans are still merrily producing. It's all good!
Went up to Broadwalk for a successful shopping trip this morning: no DVDs but I found everything else I was looking for, including a hand cultivator in the 99p shop (it'll probably fall to pieces in a year, but at that price I'm not too bothered. It's metal, it can be recycled).
And Swamp Thing Vol 3 arrived! [GLOMPS Onna] We watched the first three eps tonight - Lesser of Two Evils (which is great fun), Revelations, and Future Tense, which is a fine, eco-biased ep (I'm particularly fond of those). All most enjoyable.
And - don't faint - I actually went to a hairdresser and had my hair cut professionally. First time in nearly twenty one years. Had to be done though: since I had Ken cut the long bit off I haven't been able to trim the back properly, and it was looking distinctly messy. So I made an appointment at Casanova up Sandy Park Rd, and Danielle did a fantastic job for me. No, sorry, no photos yet, going to see if Ken can take a couple tomorrow.
All in all a good day. I even managed to make time to organise my seeds ready for next year: the surplus from this year are now safely ensconced in the fridge, where they should keep happily until next spring. And I don't need to buy any more - I have everything I plan to grow already, including a few new varieties. Oh, no, correction: if the sweetcorn works this year I'll need to buy more for next, but other than that I'm all set.
And now it's back to the loom...
Thursday, July 15, 2010
And yet more weather, very strong winds today, heavy rain and hot humid sunny spells (I fear for my sweetcorn in the stormy winds tonight). Since the main water butt was overfilling again (by which I mean it was full and any excess was diverting into the usual household drain - dreadful waste of water!) I thought I'd top up the frewtnog pool, only to find, when I'd cleared away some of the grass and honeysuckle, that it was empty - just a damp sludge left at the bottom. Erk!
Filled it quickly and promised to make sure it stays that way, and am now keeping fingers crossed the newts haven't suffered too badly.
Watched my latest Lovefilm rental this evening, Devil May Cry - and for once we viewed the subbed version (I usually have to suffer the dubbed versions if we're all watching). It's odd. Gorgeous characters, lovely graphics, tedious main premise. I kind of feel I should really love it, but I kept finding myself almost dropping off. The first four eps were on disc 1: I won't bother with the rest (unless I can pick them up really really cheaply somewhere, which seems very unlikely).
We had a micro-second power cut half an hour ago, bloody nuisance as of course it shut down and rebooted this machine. (Oddly, everything in the house went off except the TV. No idea why. Is the TV such a 'vital' part of life that they all come with built-in ups facilities these days?) Hoping it doesn't happen again, as it shuts off Ken's alarm, and that could cause problems come morning...
Later edit: OK Lutra. You mentioned the silver mini-skirt, you could have dropped a hint about the silver afro-wig as well!
... and the stockings...
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Rain! Lots and lots and LOTS of rain! The main butt was overfilling, so I took advantage of a (hot humid and sunny, ick) break in the showers to fill up the pool in the square and Roeg's Pool, both of which have been suffering with the lack of rain and very hot weather. Took seven full watering cans-worth for the square pool and another six for Roeg's Pool, but they both look much happier now (and the frogs and newts will be chuffed). While I was at it I refilled the water bin and water butt at the greenhouse too. Now my arms are dropping off and I haven't done my shoulders any good, but it desperately needed doing (more rain is forecast and I wanted some space in the main butt to take full advantage) and Ken wasn't available to carry for me. (We need Kai's railway extension!)
These are the White Egret Orchids - you can now see the buds forming. This was taken with my camera, hence the lack of extreme close-up: Ken will take some decent ones when he has time. Very pleased though - so far so good, and there are at least four buds on each of the two plants (the third one has leaves but hasn't developed fully. Fingers crossed for next year).
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
So, after a day of running around trying to get things planted in between the (much welcomed) showers, it was John Cabot's Summer Showcase this evening - great fun, and even more talented kids than ever. Kai and his group performed Muse's Supermassive Black Hole...
That's Kai at the back on the left, playing electric guitar (he never ends up where I can get a decent pic!)
And I entered the raffle. Don't usually these days, as I never win anything. Except tonight.
[bemused] I think I'll keep him. He's machine washable, and has a cute smirk and little beady eyes. But he needs a name...
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Sleepy cat is sleepy...
Oh, and I archived the blog to disk. Hard drive now has 155megs extra free space.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Right - catch-up time...
Slightly later edit: [bemused] you can almost see the veg growing. Since this morning the sweetcorn flower tassels are now just peeking out of the top of the plants, and I'm having to pick mange tout twice a day, as the pods that are too small in the morning are the right size by the evening. We have the first marrow developing now, as well, and enough tomatoes for the first batch for the freezer! (There'll be a cucumber ready for picking in a few days too...)
I lubs my gardin...
It really looks as though Ken will be able to finish remortaring the wall this summer! This has been a major job, spread over 15 years - 100 ft long and well over 6 ft high in places, and the work can only be done when it's dry and sunny, as otherwise the mortar doesn't dry properly (and can crack) or is washed out by rain.
This is the current section: last year's repair is on the far right, the section he's scraped out, removing the old ashy mortar, ivy roots, weed roots and other junk, ready to select the stones to be mortared back in (we have piles of them, rocks that fell out as the mortar gradually decayed over the years before we bought the place) is in the centre, while on the left you can see the part he hasn't tackled yet. The top of the wall is always the most difficult, as it means standing at the top of a step-ladder (which itself is standing on soil - never terribly stable). BUT it's nearly done now.
Then we plan to change the veg bed a little, cutting off the awkward rounded corner and extending outwards by a few feet in the direction of the house. This will give me more growing space and also leave room for Kai's proposed additional railway track down the fence side of the patch (if we can ever afford it...) This will mean moving the stones that are acting as a retaining wall and rebuilding it along the new perimeter, but we'll have plenty of sand and cement left, so Ken's suggested mortaring the rocks, making it stronger and more permanent (and no longer a refuge for slugs!) So that's the project for the autumn.
Of course, there are a couple of other household projects suggested last year that I had forgotten about: painting the front door and jamb, and the back door and jamb, and the inside of the lounge windowsills, which are in a terrible state. All of this requires fine weather and lugging the paint home from Wilkinson's, so I need to start working out schedules.
So much for thinking I'd finished after doing the bathroom!
<- The sweetcorn is still doing well, but the actual end results are still a bit of a moot point. Keeping fingers crossed for plenty of sun in August. And a bit of rain in the meantime! Though you have to admire how sweetcorn has evolved: the leaves funnel water directly down to the base of the plant, as I saw while watering last night. Very efficient!
So far so good for the apple tree. We have a couple of dozen apples developing nicely, although I'm still checking for pests and keeping it well-watered. They're not ripe yet! ->
<- watermelon and Galia melon ->
Unfortunately it looks as though I might only have one watermelon: all the tiny fruits have died off. I assume that's because it really needs much more space to grow. Eh well. Maybe when I get the coldframe...
On TV: the fourth season of The IT Crowd is now half way through and as far as we're concerned so far it's the best yet! Season three was lacking, but four is insanely surreal (or surrealy insane). Great stuff.
Otherwise there's not much on at the moment: everything we were following - Flashforward, V, CSI - has finished. We're watching the first season of Warehouse 13 again, in preparation for season two (which I'm hoping will be shown on a channel we get, unlike TrueBlood season two, dammit), and picking up on all the little things we missed first time around, which is fun. And the new season of CSI: Miami starts next Tuesday - will probably catch that. (The CSIs aren't 'must watches', but they are fun and a way for me to sit down for an hour instead of charging around getting stuff done!)
My last Lovefilm rental was Parasomnia. I was quite looking forward to it, but it was a major disappointment. Shades of The Cell, which is a much better film. Pity, but you never know 'til you've watched it.
Right, I think that's everything pretty much up to date. Rosa's fresh coir substrate is drying out on the table behind me: we can repot her soon. I've repotted my variegated ficus and pruned off one branch (seeing if I can get it to root), which it much needed. Kai's summer holidays start on the 23rd of this month: we don't have much planned, since the German school trip in October is taking priority, but there are a few things we'd like to do. Will see how it goes.
Back to the garden. At the moment we're trying to clear the ivy from the meadowsweet patch...
Friday, July 09, 2010
White Egret Orchid today!
And everything is blooming. I now have an almost full bag of mange tout, a handful of ripe tomatoes (and the first cherry tom reddening), and the first of the dwarf French beans ready to be blanched and frozen. The first of the Swiss chard is ready to be picked too, and it won't be long before I can cook with my own peppers. (Unfortunately I won't be able to grow enough for all our needs, but they'll certainly help - and they taste wonderful!)
It's so hot Tyjer is simply lying asleep in the shade...
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
[suspicious glance askance] Since my comment here that I don't seem to be able to grow courgettes, my three plants have been behaving themselves and are now producing merrily. Have they been reading my mind - or, more alarmingly, my blog?
Yesterday evening I spotted that a very recent version of Sherlock Holmes was on TV, starring Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones in Torchwood) as Dr Watson (can we call him Doctor What?) I don't think I've ever seen him in a not-Ianto rôle, so despite the low IMDb rating and reviews, we settled down to watch...
... ye gods... It's absolutely dreadful. Dreadful. It's not even so bad it's good. The worst Holmes I've ever seen (his real name is Robert Sherlock Holmes? And he has a brother called Thorp?? Has anyone told Conan-Doyle?), some truly dire acting (not on not-Ianto's part, fortunately), plainly stupid fx (a rubber T-rex and a hot air balloon with helicopter rotors on the top?) and a wholly ludicrous story. I assume the film was brought out as some sort of homage or parody of the recent not-particularly-good Robert Downey Jr version - hence Holmes first name and the Iron Man element of the plot - but it failed quite dramatically. Horrible horrible film. I sat and cringed at it for twenty minutes before I couldn't bear it any longer and went to make dinner instead.
Not recommended for any Holmes fans, Conan-Doyle scholars, or... well, anyone, really.
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
So - up and out in the garden at a little after 7 am, stalking the bindweed in the square and the rockery with RoundUp(™). I seem to be having considerable success in my war against the evil weed (unless, of course, the little buggers are hiding under the soil just waiting for me to populate the area with lawn chamomile and other bee-happy herbs, whereupon they will rise up from the depths like vegetable zombies and throttle all my precioussesses to death...)
[blink] Heh. Blame lack of sleep.
Also cleared out and reorganised the pots and planters under my potting table - and had a really good session of 'slaughter the gastropod', a large number of whom were hiding under said pots. Quite satisfying, although I'm mystified as to why all the snails had really thin and fragile shells.
Then it was over to Tesco at 9, and the rest of the day so far has been client site stuff...
And these are my first sweet peppers! There are a lot more coming, which is great news given how many of them we eat!
Monday, July 05, 2010
Out with Kim this morning, back to the Whitehall Garden Centre (became an immediate favourite after the last visit). Hardly anyone there: lovely leisurely look around. Bought two 60 litre bags of ericaceous compost and one of multi-purpose, a
sedum purpurea, sedum sediforme, and an Ajuga Burgundy Glow for the new bed around the bird
And Tyjer hasn't let me out of his sight since I got back!
Sunday, July 04, 2010
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Friday, July 02, 2010
The White Egrets: Ken took these for me (my camera won't cope with extreme closeups). I am certain that's a flower spike forming!
More pics as things happen.
And on the subject of flowers, my jasmine has escaped the winds so far this year and is flowering merrily around and up the ivy tree. With honeysuckle around the pool and jasmine in the meadow, the lower garden smells wonderful. Maybe I'm not as much as a failure with outdoor flowering plants as I've always thought - as long as I leave them alone to do their own thing...
Thursday, July 01, 2010
The watermelon today ->
<- Camouflage cat tries a new place to sleep...
But mum, the pigeon asploded! *burp* No, Iz not eated it...
Though he certainly looks fat enough to have done so! At least this one got away without shedding any blood. The last one was in the meadow, and the path was splattered...